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Lycos Launches Social Networking for Cinema

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In an effort to reinvent itself as an online entertainment portal, Lycos has launched a new service that combines streaming video and real-time chat. Lycos Cinema will allow users to simultaneously watch and comment on films in the confines of a virtual screening room.

Directors, artists and content managers can release content to general or specifically targeted audiences by providing screening and sampling opportunities, as well as marketing and promotion opportunities for new revenue streams.

The video content is secured by Microsoft’s DRM technology provided by Windows Media Rights Manager, in order to protect artists’ rights.

Lycos Cinema will engage in partnership with content providers and consumers by offering the following benefits:

•  Film studios can leverage the proprietary watch and chat technology for new promotions, distributions and focus group opportunities. For the first time, movie producers and fan clubs can host online screenings with live chat.

•  Independent filmmakers will have a powerful, cost-effective, new platform to introduce their work to millions of viewers. They can create communities of like-minded fans on Lycos Cinema.

•  Advertisers can reach specific segments of consumers in the 18-35 demographic with sticky, compelling high-quality content and applications, being able to monetize content that is not user-generated in nature.

Lycos CEO Brian Kalinowski comments, “Lycos Cinema capitalizes on the convergence of the fastest-growing Web categories – social networking and online video.”

Lycos Cinema lets users host their own screening rooms and invite others to simultaneously view the video content. Screening room hosts can pause, rewind and fast-forward video streams, and chat with other viewers.

The company only has about 1,000 licensed titles available to view right now, so the library is somewhat limited. The real promise of Lycos Cinema will most likely lie in the proprietary software that the company has developed for this venture, as other video services will likely want to take advantage of the real-time social networking possibilities for which the software is designed.

One can only hope this will pave the way for Lycos to bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 to a whole new Web 2.0 audience.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

Lycos Launches Social Networking for Cinema
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